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“A disappointing day”

Dartmoor Zoological Park
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Sparkwell
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Small friendly wildlife park/zoo on edge of Dartmoor featured on BBC TV series and the home of Hollywood movie, We Bought A Zoo starring Matt Damon.
Leamington Spa, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“A disappointing day”
Reviewed 10 August 2014

We last visited the park many years ago and at that time thought how wonderful it was, so were pleased to be able to return. How things have changed particularly in the big cat area. We spent ages looking in one area only to turn round to a notice board and find the big cat was deceased ! Same with the bears, overheard one lady saying she thought there were 3 bears, yes, look at a notice board, another deceased animal ! Okay though if you like Meercats.
The park looked very run down and we thought that the admission charge was high for what there actually was.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank Jill W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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East Midlands
Level Contributor
27 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Not a good example of a modern zoo and poor value for money as a visitor experience”
Reviewed 10 August 2014

I badly wanted to like this zoo and enjoy my trip here after reading the book written by the owner, however, we were very sadly disappointed. Zoo's clearly cost an astronomical amount of money to run and the lack of available funding and investment in this place is sadly very evident. Many of the enclosures are terribly overgrown (you'll be lucky if you can spot the residents at all) and need replacing or refurbishing. The animal collection is really run as an old fashioned zoo just to attract families with children and there was little evidence of animals being kept for conservation or educational purposes. Some of the animals are very old and/or their partners have died, there were also empty enclosures, green water in the tigers swimming area and the whole place gave us a rather sad impression of decline and a diminishing collection of animals. The grey wolves were pacing and looked bored. It's OK to have a dream of owning a zoo but it's quite another thing to charge people a fee to view something that is simply just not worth the money or enjoyable for either the visitors or the animals. This place really needs an injection of cash if it is to be run well. I couldn't recommend and wouldn't return it was quite depressing!

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank DartmoorFans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Exeter, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Lovely zoo and day out”
Reviewed 10 August 2014 via mobile

Went for the first time with grand children quite hilly lovely animal's all seemed very contented nice sized enclosures some animals are from other zoo's and are living out their retirement really nice staff that are happy to chat with you. Really peaceful location very good facilities enjoyed by us all will be going back.

Helpful?
Thank jayjay98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“lovely but very hilly”
Reviewed 9 August 2014

This zoo is lovely, the animals look very contented as far as zoos go, especially the tigers, rolling around on their backs like a happy pet dog, however the park is very hilly due to its location so tired children with little legs and people with disabilities may struggle. A lot of the park looks like a work in progress still but there is a good selection of animals but due to a family members arthritis we didn't get to see it all as it was just too hilly. Could do with a children's play park, has a bouncy castle but its £2 for 10 minutes.

The restaurant is expensive but there is a lovely green in the middle to take a picnic.

It has the potential to be a fantastic zoo, when its finished.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank nasher_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blackpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
95 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Great day out”
Reviewed 8 August 2014 via mobile

We went on a family day out at the end of last summer and what a gorgeous place. The adventure started in the car and the winding roads off the beaten track - once we were there the day was a delight. Pleasant surroundings and lots of shows and talks to keep the day interesting. I love going to the zoo, I've been to bigger more commercial ones. But this one is my favourite. The big cats are gorgeous and the bird of prey talk was brilliant. Loved it and thank you for a brilliant day out.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Kirstendoidge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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